Entertainment Music Beyoncé Dedicates 'Renaissance' Drop to Her Late Gay Uncle Johnny: 'To All of the Fallen Angels' "He was my godmother," Beyoncé wrote of her late Uncle Johnny on her website as she thanked those who inspired her latest album Renaissance By Glenn Garner Glenn Garner Instagram Twitter Glenn Garner is a Writer/Reporter who works heavily with PEOPLE's Movies and TV verticals. Since graduating from Northern Arizona University with a dual major in journalism and photography, he got his professional start at OUT Magazine, The Advocate and Teen Vogue, and he's since consistently kept his finger on the pulse of the LGBTQ community. His first book The Guncle Guide was released in 2020 and was featured on Katie Couric's list of 100 recommended books of the year. People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 29, 2022 06:27 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Beyoncé is paying tribute to the man behind the gay icon. The 28-time Grammy Award winner, 40, dedicated Friday's release of her highly-anticipated seventh solo studio album Renaissance to her late Uncle Johnny, to whom she referred as her "godmother" in a heartfelt statement. "A big thank you to my Uncle Johnny," she wrote on her website. "He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album. "Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you," Beyoncé added. Her mother Tina Knowles also opened up about Johnny, who was her sister's son "but more like a brother to me," in an Instagram post that pointed out a nod to him on the track "Heated." Beyoncé Releases Long-Awaited Seventh Studio Album Renaissance, Confirms LP Is a 3-Part Project "Johnny was the closest human being in the world to me we were inseparable growing up! Later he was my nanny/ housekeeper/ designer/ dance partner/ [confidant] and bestie. I laughed constantly with him and trusted him unconditionally! When he died a piece of me went with him," she wrote in the caption. "Solange and Beyonce worshiped him. He helped me raise them. And influenced their sense of style and uniqueness! "He made Beyoncé's prom dress. Last night she told me to listen closely at the end of the song 'Heated' and I heard for the first time her saying 'Uncle Johnny made my dress' and I got so teary eyed. You see Johnny loved house music! And introduced my kids to it early on. He is smiling from Heaven at Bey right now!" Tina added. Beyoncé previously honored Uncle Johnny as the "most fabulous gay man" she's known in her acceptance speech when she and Jay-Z received the Vanguard Award at the 30th GLAAD Media Awards in 2019. Beyoncé Honors Late Uncle Who Had HIV in Emotional GLAAD Awards Speech Renaissance Cover Art. Beyoncé/Instagram "I want to dedicate this award to my Uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man I have ever known, who helped raise me and my sister," she said. "He lived his truth and he was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn't as accepting. "And witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I've ever lived. I'm hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights," Beyoncé added. In Friday's post, Beyoncé also recognized her children, Blue Ivy, 10½, and 5-year-old twins Rumi and Sir, "for allowing me the space, creativity, and inspiration" to create Renaissance, as well as her "beautiful husband and muse" Jay-Z, 52, "who held me down during those late nights in the studio." RELATED VIDEO: Beyoncé Releases Long-Awaited Seventh Studio Album Renaissance, Confirms LP Is a 3-Part Project "Thank you to my Parkwood crew, my slab, dream, and all of the talented producers involved. Mama, I luhhhh you. To my father, my O.G., my first teacher: You inspire me in every move that I make. I love you," Bey added. Renaissance marks Beyoncé's first solo album in six years. She previously released Dangerously in Love (2003), B'Day (2006), I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), 4 (2011), Beyoncé (2013) and Lemonade (2016), following her tenure with Destiny's Child. Beyoncé also appeared on the 2018 collaborative album Everything Is Love with Jay-Z, as well as 2019's The Lion King: The Gift, a soundtrack for Disney's live-action adaptation that features original music by the artist. Additionally, she released Homecoming: The Live Album in 2019, recorded from her iconic Coachella performance the year before. Renaissance is now available for streaming and download.